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Powell talks about Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Friday, December 09, 2005

In an appearance at Wilkes-Barre PA, Colin Powell had a few words about Iraq:
In his only critique of the Bush administration, Powell said there should have been more troops on the ground when the Iraq war began.

"We should have swamped the place.... stopped the insurgency," he said.
Knowing what we know now, I can agree with that. But, unfortunately, that wasn't the conventional wisdom at the time. An insurgency wasn't anticipated and it obviously wasn't something for which we planned. That assumption was incorrect and has caused us many problems. But it is also hindsight at this point.
The U.S. should stand alongside the Iraq people as the military and police forces and political system are built up, Powell said.
And, of course, that's been the plan for sometime. Knowing when that is sufficiently done is the key. We'll have a much better handle on that after the Dec. 15th election and the formation of the government.

That may lead to:
Then armed forces can start being drawn down, perhaps as soon as next year, he said. The U.S. can't keep up the level of military presence indefinitely and can't keep sending troops out for three or four deployments, he said.
Agreed and agreed. Again, my guess is we'll be down to about half our presence at this time next year if all goes well with the Iraqi governments formation. If it is functioning well and we see the anticipated progress with Iraqi security forces we should be able to begin a significant draw-down of our troops.
However, "We are where we are, and we have to give the Iraqis the democracy they deserve," he said. "We cannot just walk away."
A nice way of invoking Powell's "Pottery Barn" doctrine: "if you break it, you own it." And yes, we owe it to Iraq to finish the job.

Nothing particularly earth-shaking about Powell's comments. I simply bring them to you as an example of a sane and reasonable look at Iraq and the future, not to be confused with that which you'll hear from the likes of Pelosi, Dean, Kennedy and Murtha.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I have to wonder if the defeatism and political sniping isn’t helping urge the insurgency along.

One has to wonder if the foreign terrorists and ex-Baathists would be as widespread if we were more united in our purpose in Iraq. Disagree with methods all you want. More troops, less troops, same amount, there are arguments for all sides to make. But first state that you want to see America victorious and the Iraqi people in charge of their own destiny. Everything else is secondary to that.

If you can get behind the goal, and we show a united front on that, much of the FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT about Americas intentions in Iraq would dissapate.

Committees on who our intelligence failed us, and how we can do a better job at preparing for war, and preparing to "win the peace," certainly have their place. But that place isn’t sniping the Commander in Chief during wartime, and trying to make cheap political gains. This is serious business, and to many people are behaving in a very un-serious, and irresponsible manner.

BTW Robert Kagan has a good article about "Whether This War Was Worth It" from a historical perspective.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
"An insurgency wasn’t anticipated and it obviously wasn’t something for which we planned."

Not planned for, certainly. But it was predicted by the NIC in January 2003.
Written By: Matt McIntosh

As I’ve mentioned before, there were also a predicted massive refugee crisis that never materialized. A lot of planning for the immediate post-war was supposed to handle that.

McQ, you say...

And yes, we owe it to Iraq to finish the job.
...and I disagree. We owe it to us to finish the job.

Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
We owe it to us to finish the job.

We owe it to both us and them to finish the job.
Written By: McQ
Has he forgotten Turkey not letting use their bases?
Written By: John Davies
URL: http://
Again, my guess is we’ll be down to about half our presence at this time next year if all goes well with the Iraqi governments formation. If it is functioning well and we see the anticipated progress with Iraqi security forces we should be able to begin a significant draw-down of our troops.
What happens if reality on the ground means that we cannot make that level of reductions, though? Do we have enough active personell (and projected recruitment) in order to maintain current troop strength without forcing soldiers to do 3-4 tours?

This is an honest question, because I do not know.
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
What’s interesting is that Iraq veterans in units re-sign up at higher rates, and those are the most valuable guys with the experience in country.

Written By: Harun
URL: http://

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